When you get there, there isn't any there there.
— Gertrude Stein, 1874 - 1946
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madjeanne

TravelJournal user

About me

I'm Female, from United States

Where am I now?

I'm currently in Cape Town, South Africa

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My route

United States
Italy
Croatia
Montenegro
Greece
Turkey
Malta
Spain
France
Monaco

Link to this journal

My other journals

The Wonders of Africa

Exploring the west coast of Africa

The World According to Jeanne

31 countries in 4 months

Summer 2017

Headed North to cool down a bit.

Africa

Safari, wine, and big city time

Spin the globe....summer 2018

May 2018 - Jul 2018

Temperature hit 100, gotta go!

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T minus 3 days

4:04pm

The countdown has begun. We are leaving on Friday morning to start our 47 day journey through Europe. We will start and end in Venice and visit several other cities in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Turkey, many Greek islands, Malta, Spain, France, and Monaco. We will be going back to some places we have been to before and will be visiting some new places too. We are also excited to meet up with some friends that we have met on some of our other travels along the way. It will be a nice mix of old and new...both places and friends.The preparation for a trip like this can sometimes be the most difficult part. More specifically the packing. Last week we packed up four big bags and shipped them off to Venice so we don't have to deal with traveling with them on the plane. The memory of our trip last summer is still very vivid and I think I still have some nightmares about hauling all of the luggage we had on planes and trains and busses and down city streets, etc. I promised myself I would NEVER do that again and that I would rather do without some things so I could travel lighter and not have to deal with the hassle of pushing, pulling, lifting, dragging, and breaking my back getting my luggage from place to place. So we decided to ship most of our stuff to Venice (hopefully it will be there waiting for us) and we will ship it back home from Venice at the end of the trip. We are only bringing a carry on with us on the plane so we won't have to deal with checked bags either. Stay tuned for my analysis of how this plan worked out for us. I'm ready to go and am feeling like I really need a vacation. I know, you're all saying "oh poor Jeanne, she doesn't work and has such a low stress, easy life and now feels like she needs a vacation - boo hoo". Well, most of that is true but it has been a very busy, crazy year so far. The move into our new place has been anything but easy or low stress. We're starting to get settled and we love it but I am looking forward to taking a break from it for a while. So for now, Arrivederci!

Buon giorno

We have arrived

2:50pm

We had an uneventful flight from Phoenix to New York (always a good thing). We had just enough time to stop in the club and get a drink (water) before getting on the next flight to Venice. We are flying Delta this time which is a first for us. We usually fly American but occasionally mix it up with a non American airline when we fly out of the US. The only real criteria we have is that the plane has a lay-flat seat. For this trip, Delta had the best times and connections so we decided to give it a try. Larry was already comparing the experience on other airlines and we hadn’t even left the ground in New York. It’s hard not to compare. There is the size of the seat, the amount of storage, the amenity kit, pajamas or no pajamas, the wine selection, the audio/video selection, etc. the comparison did not start out so good. The seats are fairly small for business class although they are lay flat seats so I’m not going to complain. The amount of storage around the seat is not good. Larry said his shoes wouldn’t even fit in the small shoe bin in front of his seat. The amenity kit is very good. It’s a Tumi case that can be personalized for free and inside is a super cute pair of striped socks and Kiehls products. Pajamas were not given out. I find this terribly disappointing. I have come to love the pajamas on overnight international flights. It’s like a ritual. After dinner everyone starts changing into pajamas and settles in to sleep. Luckily I anticipated this and brought leggings to change into so I don’t look like a wrinkled mess when I arrive in Venice and I can get more comfortable. The wine selection didn’t look great but turned out to be pretty good. The video selection was very good with something like 300 movies and 50 or so different TV series to choose from. It would have been great if we could have watched them but the system froze after the first 20 minutes and they had to reboot the system which took about an hour. That time it worked for about 3 minutes and they rebooted it again. This continued on until I gave up. It was like Groundhog Day. I had already watched the first several minutes of Big Little Lies 3 times and didn’t want to see it again. Not acceptable. I look across the aisle and I see the lady across from me has taken off her shoes and is barefoot which in itself is beyond disgusting to me, but she has also put her bare feet up on the video console in front of her and is in a position that looks like she is ready to give birth. Seriously, who does this?!
So after the glass of champagne to kick off the flight we waited for our dinner. And waited, and waited. This seemed to be the most disorganized crew I have ever experienced. They wandered up and down the aisles a lot but didn’t get much done. It seemed that our 9 hour flight was going to be spent waiting for dinner. If I wasn’t so hungry I would have just gone to sleep. The fact that we didn’t have any video to pass the time just made it worse. Larry declared that he would never fly on Delta again. I had to remind him that we still had to fly home on Delta. He’s trying to figure what other options there are to get home right now! So the dinner that we waited half the flight for was so bad that I couldn’t even eat it. I took one bite and gave up on that too. I took an ambien and tried to sleep in my little cocoon flat bed seat. It was not a good night and certainly not a good flight! Delta has not earned my business and I think Larry would rather stay in Italy than ever get on another Delta flight. We had a nice transfer to our hotel in Venice. We are staying at the JW Marriott that is on its own private island. We took a taxi for about 15 minutes to the water taxi port, then transferred to the water taxi and it took about another 15 minutes to get to our hotel. It is a beautiful property. They upgraded our room to a villa that has its own pool and patio/yard. By the time we got settled it was about 2:00 and we went for lunch at the pool restaurant. By the time we were done I was so tired I barely made it back to the room. We slept for a couple hours, showered and went to dinner at at about 8:00. We decided on pizza and wine. A great choice for a first dinner in Italy. They were both excellent and the restaurant was perfect. They had live jazz playing, comfortable seating and a great atmosphere. We got back to the room just after 10:00 and I barely made it into bed I was so tired.

The most romantic city....or not?

11:32pm

We have spent the last three days in Venice. The first day was spent recovering from the flight here and the last two were spent enjoying the food, the wine and the craziness of the city. Many people seem to find Venice a very romantic city. I never really understood that. I guess maybe it’s the gondolas and maybe too much wine. I really enjoy Venice but I don’t find it to be a romantic city. It’s very crowded and difficult to get around with it’s very narrow sidewalks and pathways throughout the city. It’s very touristy with all of the small shops selling the same things. Mainly Murano glass items, leather goods, and Venetian masks. There are hundreds of pizza restaurants, gelato stands, and pasta in every shape and form. I love Italian pizza, gelato, and wine but it’s a bit too busy right in Venice for me. I prefer to go off the beaten path. This time we actually stayed at a hotel that was on its own private island about a 15 minute boat ride from the heart of Venice. It was perfect. The island and the property were beautiful and peaceful and it was still close enough to Venice to make it the perfect stay. We also took a boat to the island of Murano where they make all of the Murano glass items and watched as one of the Murano glass masters made some glasses. We spent some time in one of the galleries and ended up buying a glass sculpture that will be shipped home and should look amazing in our new place. We had lunch at a pizza place that one of the locals recommended and it was very good. We had dinner at a rooftop restaurant that overlooks Venice and it was a beautiful night and a wonderful dinner. While I wouldn’t call Venice a romantic city I do think it’s pretty special.

Gondolas in Venice

What a climb!

2:36pm

I started off the day at 8:00am by signing up for the boot camp class with the personal trainer and decided to stay for the abs class as well. It turns out I was the only one at both classes so I really got a personal training session. The personal trainer, Greg, is a really nice young guy from Poland. We had a great time and I felt ready to take on the day and not feel so guilty about what I might eat and drink. After a quick shower and a light breakfast we went into the town of Rab, Croatia to see what was there. Rab is a very small island just off the north coast of Croatia. It is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water. It was a beautiful day and would have been a great day to spend lounging at the beach but we opted to walk around town and get a feel for the history, the people and the culture. I think it was a good choice. It is a tiny town that is very clean and quiet. There is a narrow brick path that surrounds the walled city and passes by the many churches, some of which were built over 1000 years ago. We stopped at one of the largest churches, the Cathedral of St Mary, and saw that you could climb the tower to get an amazing 360 degree view of the city from the top. So we paid the little old Croatian man at the bottom the small fee to get in and started our climb. He didn't speak English but if he did I'm sure he would have warned us about what we were going to encounter on our climb. I could just picture him snickering as we walked past and started on the first staircase. The tower is about 5 stories tall, so not too bad until we realized that there weren't steps at all but a series of rickety, very steep wooden ladder like structures. The first couple "ladders" weren't too bad but they got progressively worse as we made our way up. The last 2 sets of ladders were metal and at the end of the final step we had to crawl through a tunnel or hole in the rock to emerge onto the roof. I don't like heights to begin with and the fact that I was doing all of this in flip flops on a narrow, steep, and wobbly ladder didn't help. I have to admit my legs were a little shaky when I stood up on the roof. The view was amazing though and I'm so glad we did it but I wouldn't do it again. If climbing up wasn't bad enough, going down was even more difficult. You had to go backwards because it was too steep and the steps or rungs of the ladder were too narrow to make it possible to go down facing forward. I was very happy to be at the bottom and see the little old Croatian man (with a smirk on his face). We walked around the rest of the town until we ended up back at the waters edge. Rab is a beautiful, special little town.

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